Search Results for 'filled'

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  • #4310
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    Glynis had been staying with the Bakers for a few weeks now, since the night of the storm.

    She had taken refuge on their porch, as the gale tore through the pitch black streets, blowing anything not nailed down along in its wake. Intending to leave early before anyone in the house was up, she found a dry corner and wrapping her burka tightly around herself for warmth, she fell into a deep, exhausted sleep.

    “Well, what have we here! Good Lord, girl, you must be freezing!” said a booming male voice. Glynis started awake, trying to work out where she was.

    “This is no place to be in a storm. Come inside to the warm,” the man continued. And before she could gather her senses and protest, he took hold of her arm and gently but firmly pulled her into a cosy warm kitchen already filled with the delicious aroma of baking bread.

    “Anne!” he called to his wife, “look what I found on the front porch!”

    “Oh you poor dear! You are shivering! Come with me and let’s get you into some dry clothes.”

    Anne Baker was a portly woman with a purple scar covering a large part of her face. Glynis never mentioned the scar and likewise the Bakers never said a word about the dragon scales, seeming completely unperturbed by Glynis’s unusual appearance. In fact, in their kindly presence, Glynis sometimes found herself forgetting.

    To repay their kindness, Glynis helped with the baking. With her knowledge of herbs, she had created several new recipes which had proved to be most popular with the customers. This delighted the Bakers; they were people who were passionate about what they did and every little detail mattered. They rose early, often before the sun was up, to lovingly prepare the dough; in their minds they were not merely selling bread; they were selling happiness.

    Glynis was most surprised the day the stone parrot arrived in the mail.

    “This is very peculiar. Who is this “laughing crone” and what does she want with me,” said Glynis to the stone parrot. “I wonder, did Aunt Bethell send you to me? She is very good at stories — perhaps she sent me the dream as well.”

    But surely Aunt Bethell would not call herself a laughing crone! No, that is definitely not her style!

    Glynis stared at the concrete parrot and an uneasy feeling had come over her. “You are alive inside that concrete, aren’t you,” she whispered, patting the stone creature gently. “Have you too been caught in the spell of some malevolent magician?”

    #4279
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    For the last day, he’d gone to the shrines, pay his respects to his ancestors.
    They had long joined with the trees, for most, still living in their roots, and while the trees that they prayed to were young in comparison to the ones in the Heartwood, they were all connected.
    Here, it was harder to ignore their messages. Their voices had the gravity of silence, bearing the weight of ageless wisdom. Among them, Rukshan felt at home.

    The cold was sharper than the day before, and the east wind brought with it smells of industry and worry, and that of the dragon’s bad tooth. He felt there was a past were such things disturbed him; for now, he was at peace.

    Back to the campement, he retreated in his small lodge with the thin paper walls, and the warm mountain salt crystal lights.
    There, in front of him, was the little he possessed, and the provisions needed for the climb to the mountain.
    He’d found a page from the vanishing book reappear from time to time in his bag. Everytime it carried different words, and would vanish again. Its magic didn’t come from the trees, but their messages intertwined. The page carried bits and pieces of news about the Sage Sorceress, who had started to move on her healing path, the Teafing Tinkeress who was hunted by a swift menace of godlike powers, and also a Gifted Gnome, on his way to become his own maker under the protection of a Renard Renunciate looking for lost souls.
    He couldn’t figure out the stories yet, but he was glad for the piece of paper. He was helpless at distant viewing in general, so it did save him additional worry about sorting through his impressions and getting them right. Like after the Court audience, when he couldn’t feel Margoritt’s presence, and worried she and Tak were in trouble. The resident Seer at the campement had peered through his glubolin and confirmed that they were both fine. He did also confirm that she’d fainted, and was recovering. Rukshan had wanted to go back, abandon the trip to the Hermit, but reasoned that Margoritt was fine for now, and that she was a proud woman. He would have to trust she and Tak would be alright.

    “Magic comes from the heart. You will know when to use it.” the words said in passing were etched in his memory, and the potion was still here. Its color seemed to reflect his mood at times. After the morning praying, it was almost glowing gold. Now, it was a pale purple. He had felt no pull to use it. At first, there was strong resistance about it, but now, there was a mildly curious acceptance of the gift. Like the vanishing paper, whether it appeared or disappeared was of no consequence for now.

    The paper wall shivered. His meditative state was easily distracted by the sounds around, even after nightfall when everything went quiet.

    “Quiet suits you well.” The visitor was near him, wearing thin wool despite the cold.
    “My Queen?” he was surprised.
    “You still don’t remember who you are, do you?” the Queen leaned forward. He felt a strange attraction, and their lips touched. The kiss was warm and filled him with longing. They fell into each other’s arms.

    #4276
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    The garden was becoming too small for Gorrash. With time, the familiarity had settled down in his heart and he knew very well each and every stone or blade of grass there was to know. With familiarity, boredom was not very far. Gorrash threw a small pebble in the pond, he was becoming restless and his new and most probably short friendship with Rainbow had triggered a seed in his heart, the desire to know more about the world.

    Before he’d met the creature, Gorrash could remember the pain and sadness present in the heart of his maker. He had thought that was all he needed to know about the world, that mankind was not to be trusted. And he had avoided any contact with that dragon lady, lest she would hurt him. He knew that all came from his maker, although he had no real access to the actual memories, only to their effects.

    Gorrash threw another pebble into the pond, it made a splashing sound which dissolved into the silence. He imagined the sound was like the waves at the surface of the pond, going endlessly outward into the world. He imagined himself on top of those waves, carried away into the world. A shiver ran through his body, which felt more like an earthquake than anything else, stone bodies are not so flexible after all. He looked at the soft glowing light near the bush where Rainbow was hiding. The memory of joy and love he had experienced when they hunted together gave his current sadness a sharp edge, biting into his heart mercilessly. He thought there was nothing to be done, Rainbow would leave and he would be alone again.

    His hand reached in his pocket where he found the phial of black potion he had kept after Rainbow refused it. He shook it a few times. Each time he looked at it, Gorrash would see some strange twirls, curls and stars in the liquid that seemed made of light. He wondered what it was. What kind of liquid was so dark to the point of being luminous sometimes ? The twirls were fascinating, leading his attention to the curls ending in an explosion of little stars. Had the witch captured the night sky into that bottle?

    Following the changes into the liquid was strangely soothing his pain. Gorrash was feeling sleepy and it was a very enjoyable feeling. Feelings were quite new to him and he was quite fascinated by them and how they changed his experience of the world. The phial first seemed to pulse back and forth into his hand, then the movement got out and began to spread into his body which began to move back and forth, carried along with this sensual lullaby. Gorrash wondered if it would go further, beyond his body into the world. But as the thought was born, the feeling was gone and he was suddenly back into the night. A chill went down his spine. It was the first time. The joy triggered his sadness again.

    The dwarf looked at the dark phial. Maybe it could help ease his pain. He opened it, curious and afraid. What if it was poison? said a voice of memory. Gorrash dismissed it as the scent of Jasmine reached his nose. His maker was fond of Jasmine tea, and he was surprised at the fondness that rose in his heart. But still no images, it was merely voices and feelings. Sometimes it was frustrating to only have bits and never the whole picture, and full of exasperation, Gorrash gulped in the dark substance.

    He waited.

    Nothing was happening. He could still hear the cooing of Rainbow, infatuated with it eggs, he could hear the scratches of the shrews, the flight of the insects. That’s when Gorrash noticed something was different as he was beginning to hear the sharp cries of the bats above. He tried to move his arm to look at the phial, but his body was so heavy. He had never felt so heavy in his short conscious life, even as the light of the Sun hardened his body, it was not that heavy.

    The soil seemed to give way under his increasing weight, the surface tension unable to resist. He continued to sink into the ground, down the roots of the trees, through the tunnels of a brown moles quite surprised to see him there, surrounded by rocks and more soil, some little creatures’ bones, and down he went carried into hell by the weight of his pain.

    After some time, his butt met a flat white surface, cold as ice, making him jump back onto his feet. The weird heaviness that a moment before froze his body was gone. He looked around, he was in a huge cave and he was not alone. There was an old woman seated crosslegged on a donkey skin. Gorrash knew it was a donkey because it still had its head, and it was smiling. The old woman had hair the colour of the clouds before a storm in summer, It was full of knots and of lightning streaks twirling and curling around her head. Her attention was all on the threads she had in her hands. Gorrash counted six threads. But she was doing nothing with them. She was very still and the dwarf wondered if she was dead or asleep.

    What do you want? asked the donkey head in a loud bray.

    It startled the dwarf but it didn’t seem to bother the old lady who was still entranced and focused on her threads.

    Nothing, said Gorrash who couldn’t think of anything he would want.

    Nonsense, brayed the donkey, laughing so hard that the skin was shaking under the old lady. Everyone wants something. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want something.

    Gorrash thought about what he could want, what he had been wanting that night. He remembered his desire to get out of the garden.

    And there you are, brayed the donkey head, that’s a start. What do you want then?

    Getting out of the garden?

    Noooo! That’s a consequence of a deeper desire, but that’s not what you want.

    I have never thought about desires before, said Gorrash. It’s pretty new to me. I just came to life a few weeks ago during a full moon.

    The donkey head tilted slightly on its right. No excuses, it spat, If you’re awake, then you have a desire in your heart that wants to be fulfilled. What do you want? Take your time, but not too long. The universe is always on the move and you may miss the train, or the bus, or the caravan…

    As the donkey went on making a list of means of transportation, Gorrash looked hesitantly at the old lady. She was still focused on her six threads she had not moved since he had arrived there.

    Who is she? he asked to the donkey.

    _She’s known by many names and has many titles. She’s Kumihimo Weaver of Braids, Ahina Maker of Songs, Gadong Brewer of Stews…

    Ok! said Gorrash, not wanting the donkey go on again into his list enumeration pattern. What is she doing?

    She’s waiting.

    And, what is she waiting for?

    She’s waiting for the seventh thread, brayed the donkey head. I’m also waiting for the thread, it whined loudly. She won’t leave my back until she’s finished her braid. The head started to cry, making the dwarf feel uncomfortable. Suddenly it stopped and asked And, who are you?

    The question resonated in the cave and in his ears, taking Gorrash by surprise. He had no answer to that question. He had just woken up a few weeks ago in that garden near the forest, with random memories of a maker he had not known, and he had no clue what he desired most. Maybe if he could access more memories and know more about his maker that would help him know what he wanted.

    Good! brayed the donkey, We are making some progress here. Now if you’d be so kind as to give her a nose hair, she could have her last thread and she could tell you where to find your maker.

    Hope rose in Gorrash’s heart. Really?

    Certainly, brayed the head with a hint of impatience.

    But wouldn’t a nose hair be too short for her braid? asked the dwarf. All the other threads seemed quite long to him.

    Don’t waste my time with such triviality. Pull it out!

    Gorrash doubted it would work but he grabbed a nose hair between his thumb and index and began to pull. He was surprised as he didn’t feel the pain he expected but instead the hair kept being pulled out. He felt annoyed and maybe ashamed that it was quite long and he had not been aware of it. He took out maybe several meters long before a sudden pain signalled the end of the operation. Ouch!

    hee haw, laughed the donkey head.

    The pain brought out the memory of a man, white hair, the face all wrinkled, a long nose and a thin mouth. He was wearing a blouse tightened at his waist by a tool belt. He was looking at a block of stone wondering what to make out of it, and a few tears were rolling down his cheeks. Gorrash knew very well that sadness, it was the sadness inside of him. Many statues surrounded the man in what looked like a small atelier. There were animals, gods, heads, hands, and objects. The vision shifted to outside the house, and he saw trees and bushes different than the ones he was used to in the garden where he woke up. Gorrash felt a strange feeling in his heart. A deep longing for home.

    Now you have what you came here for. Give the old lady her thread, urged the donkey. She’s like those old machines, you have to put a coin to get your coffee.

    Gorrash had no idea what the donkey was talking about. He was still under the spell of the vision. As soon as he handed the hair to the woman, she began to move. She took the hair and combined it to the other threads, she was moving the threads too swiftly for his eyes to follow, braiding them in odd patterns that he felt attracted to.

    Time for you to go, said the donkey.

    I’d like to stay a bit longer. What she’s doing is fascinating.

    Oh! I’m sure, brayed the donkey, But you have seen enough of it already. And someone is waiting for you.

    The dwarf felt lighter. And he struggled as he began levitating. What!? His body accelerated up through the earth, through the layers of bones and rocks, through the hard soil and the softer soil of years past. He saw the brown mole again and the familiar roots of the trees of the garden in the enchanted forest.

    Gorrash took a deep breath as he reintegrated his stone body. He wobbled, trying to catch his ground. He felt like throwing up after such an accelerated trip. His knees touched the ground and he heard a noise of broken glass as he dropped the phial.

    “Are you alright?” asked a man’s voice. Gorrash forced his head up as a second wave of nausea attempted to get out. A man in a dark orange coat was looking down at him with genuine worry on his face.

    “I’m good,” said the dwarf. “But who are you?”

    “My name is Fox. What’s yours?”

    #4257
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    Gibbon was peeling a red apple at the end of their impromptu lunch. He handed a thin slice to Fox who took it and chewed it carefully. It was sweet and juicy, prompting him to want more.

    They had returned to Fox’s hut outside the city wall. It had not the comfort that plumbing and central heating could bring, but its four walls were enough to protect them from the chilly air outside and give them a sense of proximity. Humans like to be in human sized boxes, thought Fox. They lived in boxes they called houses; they went to work in other boxes they called bank, or smithery, or medical centre —even their outdoor markets were full of virtual boxes called booth or stand; then they had fun in another kind of boxes they called Inn, or Night Club, or brothel (depending on the persona).

    “You’re thinking again,” said Gibbon without raising his eyes from his apple. He handed another slice to Fox who was impressed and annoyed by how his master could read him so easily. Maybe it was luck or real power. Gibbon never told about how he did all that he did. He only said: “I’m not sure that would help you quiet your thoughts.” And that was the end of the subject.

    Fox took the slice and came back to his conscientious mastication. It was the rule, he had learned, with Gibbon. You don’t talk when you eat. You don’t think when you eat. You just eat, and breath when you are not swallowing. Fox felt like he was back into the Southern forest where Gibbon had found him, the lone survivor of a litter of five. His mother had been killed, and already four of his siblings were dead. Gibbon, who was already old at that time, took him in and taught him the wisdom of breathing innate among his kind. Fox then did as he was taught, focus his attention on his actions, and particularly on his breathing at all time. It helped him focus and calm down his heart.

    After they finished the apple and cleaned the place a bit, Gibbon took a deep breath. Fox knew it was the time he would Talk.

    “You’ve been looking for a reason,” said the old master in a breath. Fox was all ears, he almost began to feel them becoming pointy again. He moved his attention back to his breathing and peace filled in his heart again. It was mingled with the excitement of listening to his old master’s voice again, but Fox sticked to the peace and the excitement subsided naturally.

    “I’m going to give you an assignment,” continued Gibbon in between his long breaths. His eyes were shiny and seemed to glow in the dim light of the hut. He wasn’t blinking. He never blinked when he Talked. “I see you’ve mastered the power of breathing. You need to learn the wisdom of the Heart now.”

    Fox was ready. He had been for many years. Even when Fox left the Southern forest to find his destiny he was ready. He now realised he left because Gibbon would not teach him. And now, he came to teach me! Fox let the thought and the excitement subside again. His master would not Talk again until it was quiet.

    IIIIIIII’m not going to teach you,” said the master. “You are going to find your own master for this one.”

    “But you are my master,” said Fox, not understanding why it was happening again. “You have the power of the Heart. You can teach me.”

    IIIIII’m not your master on this one, Fox. I taught you all I was supposed to teach you. No less, no more.”

    “Where will I find my master then?”

    “You will find him in time. But first your assignment,” said Gibbon. He paused to breath deeply, his eyes intense as the full Moon. “You’ll find a lost soul in the enchanted forest. Bring it back to its rightful owner. Then you shall find your master.”

    Fox had opened his mouth to ask him how he could find a lost piece of soul, or what a piece of soul looked like, but Gibbon had already closed his eyes and entered in a deep meditation from where there were no outside interruption possible. He stood up and stretched his body. There was no need to wait aimlessly around, hoping Gibbon would come out of his meditation state soon. It could last days, even weeks.

    While packing a few things he would need on the road, like food, a knife, some clothes, Fox pondered his options. Going in the enchanted forest looking randomly for something he didn’t even know about seemed to much like his old self. He needed some more information and he had an idea about who could give them to him. The witch from the market. She would know. And she lived in the enchanted forest.

    Before closing the hut’s door, Fox looked at his master one last time. His body was very still, if you didn’t know him, you’d think he was not breathing. He had a serene smile on his face. Fox smiled and felt the love of his master and his master’s way fill his heart. He had given him a purpose, and for that Fox was grateful. He shut the door quietly and began to walk toward the enchanted forest. He heard ducks in the distance, it was as if they were singing. He laughed. It was mid afternoon. If he walked at a good pace, he would arrive at the old mansion before nightfall.

    #4217
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    The fire in the wood stove had gone out when Eleri awoke but she didn’t rekindle it. The dream of the girl with the dragon face filled her thoughts, and the mundane actions of the morning were not a primary interest yet. The face was perfect to replicate into stone, with an interesting texture that would lend itself perfectly to her paint effects, but no extreme protuberances to cause potential problems during the process. The inch long horns would not present too much of a problem, provided they didn’t grow too much. (and what was that in centimeters anyway, she wondered, and why was she dreaming in imperial measures? Perhaps it was a clue to the location of the owner of the dragon face.) But how was she to find that face? And if she found it, would she be able to take a mold of it? There must be a way, she pondered, to take a rubber mold of a dream character somehow.

    Rousing herself, she decided to ask Yorath about it. He was always full of surprises, and knew so much more than one ever imagined about multitudes of diverse topics. Eleri started to become excited at the thought of what this could mean to the development of her project. With the addition of the anti gravity animating ingredient, she could bring dream characters to life in a way never seen before in the physical world.

    And Yorath had returned as promised, and just at the right time. Despite doubting her abilities to use the elerium when he first introduced her to it, she had developed a simple enough technique to incorporate it into the statues.

    It was good to see him again, although she was disappointed to see he was not wearing that red silk jacket this time. But he had the goods, and that was the important thing. And he might have an idea about the dream casting. She would treat him to a breakfast of fresh picked mushrooms and then ask him.

    #4212
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    The first thing Fox noticed when he woke up was that strong burning smell again. It had begun sooner, usually it was stronger in winter. The smell had been here for years, Fox knew it because he had a very strong sense of smell, but other people usually dismissed it as it mingled with the profusion of citadine smells.

    He lived just outside the city walls, in a small hut. He preferred being among trees and living animals. And as he had been told, the smell came from outside the city, nothing to worry about.

    This year it was different. The smell felt different. In his fantasies, Fox imagined it was the foul odor of an old dragon’s mouth that had eaten too much garlic. But in reality he didn’t know what it was, and that was the most frightening to him, not to know.

    He envied those who couldn’t smell it. Others who could would dismiss it as, once again, the effects of the coal mining industry outside the city. Fox had an uncle working at the mines, and the smell he brought back from underground was strong indeed, but very different.

    This day, Fox felt a new resolution dawn in his heart. He had to find the right people to talk to. Maybe they could do something about it. At least find its source. He took his pouch and filled it with crackers and cheese, his favourite kind of meal. Then, as he left his small hut, he had the feeling that he might not see it again. Anyway, it was just a hut.

    Fox didn’t know who he could talk to, and he didn’t know where to go. But he was confident he would find them and all would be solved.

    #4207
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Eleri tried harder to focus on what Yorath was saying but she couldn’t keep her eyes off his red silk jacket. Eventually he realized the problem, and slipped the jacket off his shoulders, folded it neatly, and placed it in his travelling bag. Noticing Eleri’s widening eyes following the jackets movements, he zipped the bag closed and the tantalizing colour disappeared from sight.

    “As I was saying,” Yorath continued. He now had Eleri’s full attention. “Don’t ask me where I procure it from, because I can’t divulge my sorcerers, er, sources. But I can promise a steady, if not unlimited, supply.”

    “More tea, dear?” Eleri refilled his cup. “I’m very interested in the antigravity properties because you see, this stuff is so darned heavy. The heaviness has it’s benefits, in fact the weight of stone is one of the attractions. But during the creation process it could be extremely useful, not to mention the transportation aspect.”

    Yorath smiled, nodding agreement. “Indeed, not to mention the expanded possibilities and abilities of the finished products.”

    “The thing is,” asked Eleri, “Can it be programmed? There are times when heavy is entirely appropriate, and times when the anti gravity component would be welcome and beneficial.”

    “The Overseer has been working on it, but he got in a bit of a muddle with it. You see, it’s a delicate combination of technology and magic. The combination has to be just right. Not too much technology without enough magic, but neither too much magic and not enough technology.”

    “Oh dear,” sighed Eleri. “I’m afraid my technological know-how is nil. Well, almost nil,” she added. She knew how to mix colours, for example. Was that considered technical? She didn’t know, but felt despondent now about her ability to use the new ingredient.

    “All that’s needed is a little more tinkering with the programming, and with a bit of luck,” Yorath snickered a bit at the word luck and continued, “I should be able to find just the right spell to go with it, to activate the technology.”

    “I don’t know, Yorath, it all sounds beyond me, when you start talking about scientists and Heavy Ion Research it daunts me, you know?”

    “Even though Elerium represents the hopes of a generation, the dream of a united world, and the struggle for human survival?” Yorath asked with a twinkle in his eye.

    “Well, if you put it like that, how can I refuse? How soon can you acquire the right spell to go with it?”

    “Leave it with me,” he replied.

    #4159

    In reply to: Coma Cameleon

    TracyTracy
    Participant

    A man needs a name, so they called him Tibu. It wasn’t that anyone chose the name, they had started calling him “the man from the back of the Tibu” and it got shortened. It was where they found him sitting next to an empty suitcase, by the back entrance of the Tibu nightclub, in the service alley behind the marina shop fronts.

    The man they called Tibu had been staying with the street hawkers from Senegal for several months. They were kind, and he was grateful. He was fed and had a place to sleep. It perplexed him that he couldn’t recall anything of the language they spoke between themselves. Was he one of them? Many of them spoke English, but the way they spoke it wasn’t familiar to him. Nothing seemed familiar, not the people he now shared a life with, nor the whitewashed Spanish town.

    Some of his new friends assumed that he’d been so traumatized during the journey that brought him here that he had mentally blocked it; others were inclined towards the idea of witchcraft. One or two of them suspected he was pretending, that he was hiding something, but for the most part they were patient and accommodating. He was a mystery, but he was no trouble. They all had their own stories, after all, and the focus wasn’t on the past but on the present ~ and the hopes of a different future. So they did what they had to do and sold what they could. They ate and they sent money back home when they could.

    They filled Tibu’s suitcase with watches, gave him a threadbare white sheet, and showed him the ropes. The first time they left him to hawk on his own he’s walked and walked before he could bring himself to find a spot and lay out the watches. Fear knotted his stomach and threatened to loosen his bowels. Before long the fear was replaced by a profound sadness. He felt invisible, not worth looking at.

    He began to hate the ugly replica watches he was selling, and wondered why he hated them so. He had never liked them, but now he detested them. Hadn’t he had better watches than this? He stared at his watchless left wrist and wondered.

    #4068
    Avatarrmkreeg
    Participant

    View (yes, his name is “View”) exited his building and before he had a chance to see anything else in the world, there in front of him, plopped down in the middle of the street with a piece of paper and charcoal, was a little boy, apparently doing a rubbing of the pavement.

    View was immediately curious.

    “So, what are you doing, exactly?”

    The boy, slightly disgruntled, stopped what he was doing and looked up at View.

    “Well that’s an obsurd question. You’d think it was obvious. I’m creating a map.”

    “A map?!” View said, “How’s that? I don’t get it.”

    The boy turned back to his rubbing, filled the page, set another down right beside it and began rubbing again.

    “It’s the greatest map of it’s kind, exquisitely drawn up in perfect 1:1 scale.”

    #3943

    In reply to: Mandala of Ascensions

    AvatarJib
    Participant

    The jiggong meditation’s end was signaled by a silent ring of the immaterial bell in between states of mind. MJ stretched his ideas and send a shepherd to gather his thoughts. Today only one student connected to the session. MJ acknowledged his presence with a slight flickr of his crown chakra and he checked his voicemail. 1223 messages from Dispersee. He let the potential irritation dissolve as it was born into existence and prepared to respond. No need to listen to the messages, it would only delay the answer.

    He felt a nudge from the student who hadn’t dissipated as he should. Some hesitation fluctuated in the energy. He turned his attention to the void and waited. His motto was to always let people ask the questions they had if they had any, and not begin a conversation if you hadn’t something important to say.

    Master John ?

    MJ sent some encouragement to the void where the student thought he was.

    I can’t think of a question, finally expressed the student out of nowhere.
    Maybe you don’t have any question, MJ said to the void.
    The student’s energy rippled with surprise. Had he been on Earth plane, he would have had a nervous laugh.

    Master John had already been aware that the void of the student had no question but was filled with interrogations. He was desperately trying to find something to ask in need to connect, unaware that the connection already existed and required no movement.
    MJ sent an energy egg to the student. Let him play with that. It was crafted according to the ancient Chinese culture and hard to crack. With lots of mind knots and shiny curly clues. MJ let his pride of having created the object dissolve like squid ink in the ocean of his mind.

    Suddenly absorbed by the illusory complexity of the egg, the student suddenly blended into the void of MJ’s mind, replaced by the myriads of Dispersee’s messages cackling simutaneously to catch his unwavering attention. He picked one of them and followed the thread to Dispersee and to a nice pique nique in the mountain apparently. Floverly was already there, sitting on a patch of red flowers.

    You could have changed after your jiggong, she said.

    #3928
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Godfrey, shouldn’t you DO something about that? The characters are wandering all over the place, on the wrong threads, wandering right out of stories, whether they’ve been written out or not. They’re all just doing whatever they damn well want, it’s getting ridiculous!”

    Obligingly Godfrey cackled loudly, in what Liz presumed was a game attempt to restore some order in the threads (mistakenly assuming momentarily that they were in Caketown) .

    “Are they all turning into anarchists?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Don’t be daft, Godfrey, you can have characters that are anarchists, but you can’t have anarchists that are characters, where will it end? Who will be in control, and lead the story?”

    “The writer will have to follow the lead of the characters, then, and support their moves with filler and back story.”

    Elizabeth felt faint. “What are you suggesting?” she whispered, filled with dread and uncertainty.

    #3863
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    First appeared the We, closely followed by the Others. In fact, so closely, they could hardly been called apart at the beginning.

    Then awareness awoke again, oscillating for an instant between the We and Others. Which should be this time?
    Discarded Forms awoke quickly to follow in the aperture of awareness, and opened their eyes to their memories, filled to the brim with old and new stories about themselves, about the world, its purported reason to be as it is, its rules and all the hows and whys that should once more be turned upside down.

    The set was ready, its actors in place. There was no time to waste, for there really was no time at all.

    #3753
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Aunt Idle:

    I dozed off while sitting under the Kurrajong tree this afternoon and had a strange dream. I was in a Tardis and it had landed on an expanse of sandy coastal scrub land. There was nobody else in the Tardis except me, and as the door swung open, I could smell the smoke, acrid and eye watering, and I could hear the snapping and crackling of the flames on the dry brush. The Tardis had landed in between the advancing flames and the sea. I ran back in the Tardis and looked around wildly at all the controls, wondering how to operate the thing. How the hell was I going to get out of here before the fire engulfed us? I ran back outside and the flames were roaring closer by the minute; panicking, I ran back inside, ran out again, and then ran as fast as I could away from the approaching fire until I came across a little blue row boat, rotting away on dry land, right next to a crumbling pyramid. I climbed into the boat, sitting on the bench seat between the dry thistles, thinking with relief that I would be safe in the boat. In the dream, I relaxed and closed my eyes and started to hum My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, and then I felt the heat, opened my eyes, and saw showers of red orange sparks like fireworks all around me, and then flames ~ I was surrounded by the wild fire and couldn’t see the Tardis anymore for the flames leaping and dancing around me. I held my head in my hands, weeping, waiting for the inevitable ~ and then I noticed a sapling growing in between the rotten boards at the bottom of the boat. It was growing so fast I forgot the sizzling heat around me and watched it grow, the side shoots bursting forth and the wood of the boat splintering as the trunk grew in girth. When a dried seed pod dropped onto my head ~ that’s how fast this tree grew, when I looked up it was fully mature, and I was sitting in the cool green shade ~ I looked around, and the sandy coastal scrub had gone, and I was sitting on a stone bench in the middle of a plaza. The smell of burning brush was gone and the stench of garum fish paste filled the air. A handsome fellow in a crumpled linen toga was sitting beside me, elbowing me to get my attention…

    “I made you a tuna sandwich, Auntie,” Prune was saying, prodding me on the arm. “Did you know that Kurrajong trees are fire retardant plants, and they start to send out small green shoots from the trunk within a fortnight of being burnt?”

    Well, I just looked at her, with my mouth hanging open in astonishment. Then the horrid child shoved the tuna sandwich in it, and then scampered off before I could slap her.

    #3674
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie:

    I was offering the plate of mince pies to Mr Cornwall, who had been coaxed out of his room for the first time in ages and was sitting next to the gum tree sapling that Aunt Idle had strung with fairy lights in lieu of a Christmas pine, when they arrived. We were all surprised to hear the taxi hooting outside, that is, except Bert. I heard him mumbling something about “She bloody meant it, the old trout,” but I didn’t remember that until later, with all the commotion at the unexpected guests.

    “Here, take the lot,” I said, shoving the mince pies on the old guys lap, as I rushed to the door to see who it was. A tall autocratic looking woman swathed in beige linen garments was climbing out of the front seat of the taxi, with one hand holding the pith helmet on her head and the other hand gesticulating wildly to the others in the back seat. She was ordering the taxi driver to get the luggage out of the boot, and ushering the other occupants out of the car, before flamboyantly spinning around to face the house. With arms outstretched and a big smile she called, “Darlings! We have arrived!”

    “Who the fuck it that?” I asked Clove. “Fucked if I know” she replied, adding in a disappointed tone, “Four more old farts, just what we bloody need.”

    “And a baby!” I noted.

    Clove snorted sarcastically, “Terrific.”

    Suddenly a cloud of dust filled the hall and I started to cough. Crispin Cornwall had leaped to his feet, the plate of mince pies crashing to the floor.

    Elizabeth! Do my eyes deceive me, or is it really you?”

    Godfrey, you old coot! What on earth are you doing here, and dressed like that! You really are a hoot!”

    “Why is she calling him Godfrey?” asked Prune. “That’s not his name.”

    “He obviously lied when he said his name was Crispin Cornwall, Prune. We don’t know a thing about him,” I replied. “Someone had better go and fetch Aunt Idle.”

    #3507
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Godfrey filled his mouth with peanuts to avoid speaking any negativity.
    The raucous cough had alerted him to the presence of the cleaning lady.

    In between mouthfuls, he whispered to Liz “Is there anything we can do, like having her breathe in a grocery store bag or anything? Her asthma has taken frightening proportions…”

    #3502
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    In this first comment I will try and collate the information from our discussions. It will be quite rough and may not be accurate as we were just brainstorming.

    You might like to use it as a resource to start comments for each character.

    Intents:
    FP: how not to be detached, as opposed to detaching
    EP : Importance, tradition, transmission, life and death
    TP : playful spontaneity
    JP : I need to explore a strong base, something you can count on in your life and that will nourrish and support you

    Starting point : a family member has gone missing / disappearance / mysterious inheritance
    Someone turns up with a letter about mysterious inheritance?
    That someone is in cold terms with the family and has been for years.
    Strong possibility of a ghost. male. tied up with the inheritance mystery. Ghost is either assisting or hindering the search for the mysterious inheritance.
    Location : Australia small town. Possibly called Crowshollow. Mining town
    Family run a Bed and Breakfast called the Flying Fish Inn. There is room for 5 guests at any one time but it is never full. The family are short of money. Tendency in the family to develop unconventional powers, possibly witchy stuff.

    MacGuffin (is this the family surname??) Oh no wait, on further study I see it is a reference to the inheritance. It could be the family surname though. they need one.
    A man is riding on a train when a second gentleman gets on and sits down across from him. The first man notices the second is holding an oddly shaped package.
    “What is that?” the first man asks.
    “A MacGuffin, a tool used to hunt lions in the Scottish highlands.”
    “But there are no lions in the Scottish highlands,” says the first man.
    “Well then,” says the other, “That’s no MacGuffin”.

    Family members : boy twins from jib, a girl from Eric, a matriach granny, twin girls 17, aunt Idle, father ? mother ?ghost?

    mother and father have both gone missing at some stage?. Mother is called Absinthia apparently.

    Tracy: The female twins are called Clove and Corrie. twins born in 2000 for easy reference, so if its concurent timeframe they are 14. Clove is frustrated with ghost town life, and is uncooperative and moody, has violent bursts of anger, but can be very focused when something attracts her interest. Does not take kindly to criticism.

    Corrie on the other hand is the one who will acqueisce to keep the peace, which doesnt always do herself a favour, she often agrees to things just to be pleasing and then regrets it.
    They are interested in boys, although it may be an online crush or an infatuation with a character not present. I bet they do all kind of mischiefs to elude the chaperoning of the not-so-cleveraunt.
    Clove resent the parents absence, Corrie tried to buffer that resentment but is filled with curiosity about them

    Eric: (Prune??) the young girl is bored, because her parents were always arguing, and she’s so smart nobody ever gets her, and she felt abandoned by her careless mother the most, so she builds that facade of carelessness. Prune is bored by the inheritance but interested by the tramp.

    Tracy: Aunt Idle. Paternal Aunt. Aunt never married but many relationships
    born 1970. she is very tall and thin and is prematurely grey which she wears in dreadlocks

    #3475
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Even two weeks after the escape, she still woke up in cold sweats, haunted by nightmares of being chased down narrow lanes, or driving a vehicle that would only go at a snail’s pace as soon as she tried to drive it.

    “Are you alright, dear?”

    The comforting presence of Robert helped sooth her. He brought her a tray with some lemon and cucumber water, knowing it would help with her sore throat. The artificial air of the Mars colony tended to do that.

    “Thank you Robert,… but you shouldn’t have. You’re not a robot any longer.”

    She still couldn’t believe what had happened. Maybe that was the gift of retirement the Management had in store for her all alone. Unexpected gifts, unexpected islands of solitude —even at the closest to Earth in months, Mars was still 122 million miles from her Russian homeland.

    It was still night outside. There, the days were slightly longer than Earth’s by half an hour or so, but she’d adapted to it rather quickly. It was still much better than the torpor on the island where she would loop on her days sometimes without even noticing it.

    “Anything I can do for you dear?” Robert looked appropriately sorry for her, not too much to seem condescending, not to little to seem not caring.

    “Put on some light music will you. The one from Beethoven that puts me in a meditative relaxation…”

    When the deep notes started in the background, she started to relax. Her throat felt fresh and her lungs appreciative of the oxygen produced by the greenhouse plants.
    Although she resisted slightly, inexorably she felt drawn to revisit the memories of the last day on Abalone.

    It always started with the labyrinth, and finding herself alone.

    :fleuron:

    “Mr R? Mr R?” she called. “Gweenie?”

    The labyrinth looked strangely like the laboratory white walls of the Chinese Robot Incorporated Mission Eternal where she used to work as an intern first, then as a head of research for cybernetics advancements. She was quite brilliant for her age, and the prospect of bringing a golden age to mankind was, at the time, quite appealing to her young exalted mind.

    She knew where to go. She had to relive again that day where she’d thrown away all of that for a life in hiding. The mysterious benevolent messages of the Management had started a few weeks prior, leading her to question the motives of her employer, and realizing she’d become quite attached to her creation. The prototype robot from Project R had shown never seen before reactions to stimuli, and a learning curve that was exponential. “R” was meant as Retirement: retirement of the last class of labor workers, of those delicate works that still required a human touch.
    The Management had led her to uncover that under the Corporation’s vision, the prototype would lead humanity to its doom, becoming irrelevant, a flaw in the perfect design of profit they were looking for. So she’d taken the robot, and made a run for it.
    She wouldn’t destroy it. And it seemed the Management had no intention of her to do so. With the Management’s invisible hand, she’d disguised Mr R as a common robot for elites, and led a life posing as an elite with a secret life of a for-hire spy, heist-mastermind, or ghost executioner of similarly exciting prospects.

    So there she was again. The walls stretching to infinity in an endless stream of rooms nested one into the other, the fear of being caught creeping closer and closer.

    “Stop that. Breathe.” she told herself. She was no longer that young innocent scientist. As soon as her fear dissipated, the rooms stream stopped, and everything was back to focus. She walked to the room she remembered clear as day. Mr R was there, still plugged to the mainframe, with a strange black doctor in a white surgical gown and blue mask she didn’t remember was there.

    “Interesting situation you have here.” he greeted her, snapping his gloves to extend his hand to her. “You can call me René, I’m Tahitian.”

    She could feel her lucidity fluctuating and ready to explode in a multiplicity of scenarios, but managed to maintain her focus. She refrained to punch the guy in the face too, and simply took his extended hand with caution.

    “Congratulation.” he said, beaming. “You passed the test.”

    All of a sudden, she was no longer in the same room. She was in the comfortable B&B of 2222. René was in a sofa, comfortably seated, and they were sharing a drink.

    “What have you done with Mr R?” was her first thought.

    “Oh, nothing to worry about, I borrowed it for a while, there is someone else that needed passing through my maze, and he kindly obliged to help. I will show you in a minute. We had a little conversation earlier on, while you were stranded in your past.”
    “How long was I out?” she asked.
    “Oh, time is inconsequential here, but in your terms, a day or two.”
    “Didn’t seem that long…” she mused. “Where have you done with the others?”
    “Don’t worry about them, they are on their own path. Only one should concern you now. A certain Chinese and very persistent man.”
    “Oh, fuck.” was all she said. “I should have guessed, you’re with the Corporation.”
    “Not at all my dear, you can relax. So as I said, we had a little conversation, and you can be proud of you. This robot has broken through, congratulations. You can be very proud of your work.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “He has developed a personality and a consciousness of its own. It’s still budding, but it’s very strong, and he’s quite concerned over your well-being I might add.” he said with a wink.

    Irina was perplexed at the thought, but although it made some sense at a level, her conscious brain was struggling with the implications.

    “Show me what you have to, and release us.” she said to René, getting up from the hypnotizing warmth of the sofa.

    “In a minute” he’d say, “just have a look at the screen, will you.”

    Then, she’d understood. The guy pursuing her, Cheung Lok was there, trapped in his own labyrinth, trying to catch the robot that always eluded him.

    “He would rather die than let the robot go.” she said to René “we could be here for a while”.
    “Not to worry ma chère, his timing has no impact on ours. All of this happens in the now.”
    “So how this plays out usually?”
    “It depends. In this case, all that matters is what happens when he gets the robot.”
    STOP THAT! You can’t let him take it!”
    “Calm down, the robot will be safe.”

    In the next scene, Cheung Lok was securing the robot, who was pleading with him. “Please! I don’t want to become a hairdresser, let go of me!”
    The appeal seemed to have struck a chord, and some memories of Cheung Lok flashed through the screen, and it looked like as if the robot’s struggle mirrored his own to be his own man, free from the expectations of demanding parents, society, Corporation… Their love had been nothing but control, and had put him in chains. He sobbed, wishing for a new life free of these responsibilities.

    :fleuron:

    Irina awoke from the dream again. The last memories were a bit blurry, but still fresh in her mind. René had granted Cheung Lok’s wish. He was sent back to the Island, losing some years in the process, becoming back again a young adult full of unfulfilled desires, and no memory of his previous mission. Before the process happened, he wished for those who were still alive of his platoon to be given the choice to be sent back home with only memories of the robot and himself being destroyed, or to join him on the island, with a fresh future and memories. Surprisingly, most of them chose the first option. Not everyone was ready for a brave choice of facing one’s own desires and power.

    As for her, René had been kind to offer Mr R a humanoid body before sending them through the teleportation boxes to the destination of their choices.
    Mr R had chosen Роберт (Robert) as a name for his new self (she’d been more than relieved he’d avoided René), and they’d agreed to let the boxes find the most beneficial location for them to go to. That’s how they landed in the middle of the central greenhouse of the main colony, in 2121.

    It was fifteen days ago, but still felt like yesterday.

    #3420
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Jube, the P’hope, was quite alarmed by the rate at which the beanstalk seemed to wilt.
    The beanstalk was a symbol of his power, as he was the first to believe about it, that the City of Karmalott could be lifted up of the island. At least, that was how the story grew after years of rewrite and belief honing.
    He would usually take such news with passion, and use it to his advantage, but this was different.
    Something or someone had started to shift and mess the balance of beliefs that he had carefully put in place during his many years in charge.

    If any indication, the mass belief organs’ melody was more frequently played out of tune, and he even noticed the strangest birds fly around and in his garden —birds that weren’t supposed to be created in the first place.

    One of the biselords greedier than the others, vying for more power would be a rational explanation. Usually that would happen, and be a good cause for public trial and execution by flying them through the beansdoor. For people’s protection of course.

    But this case seemed more profound, more serious.
    The last report from the team of magi was filled with such unusual unbelievable rubbish, that he wondered if the hairy scent of a revved olution was coming from down below. Now he had allowed the tool called snorkel into mass beliefs, he had a use for some skilled snorkelling spiessassins. He called for Berberus, his turbaned minion with a hook-leg —he’d lost it to a tiger slug, which then paid for it dearly. Berberus being a defrocked magi meant he had training enough to survive the conditions outside the city, and his skills as a master of arms (and legs) would be required.

    After Berberus was gone for his undercover mission, Jube wondered if someone had found out yet the lost ruins of the old temple —they were secured and buried deep under a very long time ago and memory of them erased. He shivered at the thought of them being rediscovered.

    #3344
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Fanella took Sanso’s advice and sobbed heartily. It released vast misty clouds of yellow and green energy that she had been bottling up during the recent traumatic experiences with teleporting. The coloured mist filled the room and poured out of the open window, tinting the sea mist pea green and bile yellow. Fanella was still hiccuping and blowing her nose when Sanso arrived, displacing the yellow green mist with a gust of orange red, and a foul odour.
    “Excuse me for a moment dear” he gasped, doubled over clutching his abdomen. “One can only cloak a signal for so long before it goes into spasm.”
    Fanella forgot her crying bout at the sight of Sanso on the floor imitating a sagging cow, but was glad she had a tissue handy to cover her nose with when the room suddenly filled with noxious orange gas, expelled with a trumpeting sound equal to the horns of Gabriel.
    AHHHHH” he said, smiling broadly. “I think we should get out of here now.”
    “Yes, let’s!” replied Fanella, trying not to choke.
    “What a relief! I wasn’t feeling my usual self, trying to digest that signal. Now I feel back to my usual stalwart and trustworthy self.”
    “Thank Flove for that!” responded Fanella, also feeling very much better, and ready for the next adventure.

    #3323
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    The stench of burning thatch filled the scorched air and stung their eyes as they ran towards the river. Fanella struggled to keep up with Sanso, clutching tightly to his arm, sometimes losing her footing in her flimsy sandals and bashing her bare knees on the cobblestones. “Lucky this great fire is a distraction from your unseemly attire, young miss” said Sanso, “Your naked legs are so arousing.” While appreciating Fanella’s charming thighs, Sanso failed to notice that his chopsticks were on fire. A spark had ignited them and they flared bright orange as he threw them down. Within moments they were obliterated into scattered ash. “Chop Chop Cheung Lok, now catch me if you can!” Sanso shouted gleefully.

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